Arsenal went into the game high on confidence after keeping five clean sheets and winning six of their last 10 matches, conceding only four goals. The trip to Anfield would’ve been a big indication of a season turnaround for the club, but Liverpool would prove too much to handle.
Speaking to Arsenal media (via Arsenal.com) after the match, Mikel Arteta expressed disappointment in the result and of how the pressure from the intimidating Anfield atmosphere got to his team.
“We competed really well in the first half – they had their moments, we had our moments. We were really compact and used the ball in the right way to create some situations. We had a goal disallowed and then we conceded a goal from a set-play.
“In the second half, when we had to build some momentum and start to grow [into] the match, we threw it away in the first 15 to 20 minutes. We gave every ball away in very dangerous areas. We had [them under] no pressure. They punished us, we lost control of the game and they had all the momentum.”
Touchline fracas with Klopp didn’t affect game, says Arteta
In the first half of the game, Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp had a bust-up on the touchline which lasted a few minutes, creating even more tension for the high-profile game.
Only the fourth official stood between both managers as they angrily exchanged words, almost coming face to face with each other until the intervention of both teams’ coaching staff.
Speaking on the situation to Arsenal media, Arteta said: “He was trying to defend his side, I was trying to defend mine and that’s it. I think the atmosphere was incredible right from the beginning, so that’s it.”
Jurgen Klopp also spoke on the issue. “I am really sick of these situations, where everybody tries to go for Sadio in these moments. He is a physical player, obviously, he does make hard fouls,” the Liverpool boss told Sky Sports after the match.
“We had to take Sadio off against Atletico [Madrid in the Champions League] because they wanted him to get a yellow card. “The referee did really well in that situation – I deserved a yellow card. It was not OK and that is what I said. It just happened at that moment.”
Arteta wants Arsenal to bounce back against Newcastle
Anfield is not a happy hunting ground for many teams in the Premier League, including the Gunners. The result was not a strange one. However, the margins were unexpected following Arsenal’s form going into the game.
Arteta acknowledged this fact to Arsenal media. “Here it doesn’t matter whether you play young or senior players – I’ve seen all types of players suffer [in] this ground. When you go 2-0 or 3-0 down, it’s very difficult and we suffered.
“It’s a learning process – today there are a lot of things that we should take but the most important one after a result like that is the next one, and to forget about this one.
Arteta also acknowledged that Arsenal will have to bounce back against struggling Newcastle in their next Premier League game. “That’s what big and good teams do, and that’s what we have to do.
“On Monday, we’ll start again, review the match, the things that we should have done better and understand the reason why we lost it. Then we’ll correct it and focus completely on Newcastle.”